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The Brookes Side

Michael Pista examines the differences between Oxford University and Oxford Brookes…

Living in the student city of Oxford is such a unique experience. In a place holding two large universities, chaos and activity is expected. However, the life of a Brookes student – campus, home, social – is slightly different to the life of an Oxford University student. Although we share a similar environment, your culture and our daily lives differ.

In relation to our schedules and how we spend our time on campus, I suspect it’s unlike that of an Oxford University student. At Brookes, our courses are typically taught in lectures, then solidified in seminars. Our lectures are usually two hours long and used for introducing, explaining and exploring new content. This is done in large groups with minimal participation. Most of the time, seminars come right after lectures, and they last for about an hour. Here we are in smaller groups discussing the content learned, exploring it further, and clarifying things where needed. This is an opportunity for us to dig deeper and interact with the content, as well as with each other. This structure works well and manages to effectively teach difficult topics and concepts. 

On a normal week, we can expect four days on campus, with a lecture and seminar on each day. Occasionally, as a part of certain courses, workshops require attendance. This would usually be an opportunity to work on more practical skills. For example, a ‘communication skills for lawyers’ workshop is required as part of the Law LLB course, where practical court etiquette is taught. As Brookes students, we are fortunate enough to have a dedicated bus route with Oxford Buses (U5). This service is free to all Brookes undergraduates, and is a lifesaver all year round in terms of saving time and money. 

While on campus, there is also plenty to do. One of our greatest features is access to modern sporting facilities such as pitches, courts and gyms. These facilities are available to Brookes students at all times, for free or for just a small fee. Going to the gym on campus can save almost £15 every month when compared to other memberships in the area.

Term-time home life has proved to be a positive experience for Brookes students as well. We have a selection of university and private company accommodations available to us. Typically they are in the areas of Headington and Cowley, as these are close to the campus. Luckily,most of the student accommodation also falls on our free bus route, resulting in incredibly convenient, free travel to campus or town. Furthermore, Oxford Brookes provides affordable houses for students in the same areas. The prices are fair and facilities are of high quality- no complaints.

One thing we may have in common is that after hard work comes a hard party. Oxford is one of the best student cities in the UK, and caters to us in endless ways. The diversity of food and drinks, and entertainment is one of the best things about it. Our favourite restaurants include European cuisine such as ‘Moya’ just by St Clements,or Nepalese cuisine such as ‘Yeti’ in Cowley. For some well-priced and deserved drinks, the ‘Swan and Castle’ is a regular, in addition to smaller and cosier pubs such as the ‘Corner House’ in Headington. When on a bigger mission, and celebrating hard, visits to clubs such as ‘Atik’ and ‘The Bridge’  are a must. These are amazing nightclubs right in the heart of Oxford, that are loved by us all. When the party’s over, making use of the parks and greenery around Oxford is essential. Among our favourites definitely has to be ‘South Park’, or the ‘Shotover Country Park’. These make for great walks and talks, and are definitely popular among the Brookes students living in the surrounding areas. As well as this, we all make sure to make use of the brilliant museums such as the ‘Ashmolean’, and other attractions such as the ‘Botanical Gardens’, which are all free to us students. Not to forget, visiting the ‘New Theatre’ and catching a show has also proved to have been fantastic. A breathtaking tribute to ‘Pink Floyd’ was on just before the new year, and it was the best £30 spent!

Living in Oxford as a Brookes student is very pleasant and (most of the time) trouble-free. The city is incredibly well adapted for all the students that live there, and our universities act as great support.

Despite holding two large, very different universities, everything is in order. While our learning environment and methods may perhaps differ, I suspect our social lives are very similar. After all, every student is always on a hunt for a bargain and fun university memories.

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